Zag Heli Gold 2009-10 Ski Review

Gear Reviews

When ZAG said they were sending 98mm-underfoot skis for our South American ski trip, you could say we were kinda concerned. 98mm? Big Mountain ski? Francois assured us they’d get the job done and then some, and hot damn, the man had a point.

The 2009/10 ZAG Heli Golds (189cm) saw a pretty wide mix of snow conditions while we galivanted through Chile, and held up to everything we threw at em. Untracked pow on one side of Portillo, refrozen crud on another aspect, windblown a few days later, and finally some good old deep Andes schmoooo in Las Lenas. Just like Francois had promised, the huge shovels floated in the pow, and the narrower section underfoot held it’s own when we needed an edge.

Our favourite highlight? The combination of the fat early-rise shovel with the stiff, flat tail. The shovel got you stoked to slash into a big turn or feature, but the tails didn’t leave you on your ass when all was said and done. In short, its the kind of ski you’d want to do a not-too-deep Big Mountain competition on. Solid on hard pack and piste, and good times in the pow.

The complaints? Maybe you can’t have everything in a ski. If you want a stiff, traditional tail on your ski, this sucker could be for you. But if you want to follow-through your slash turns with buttery steeze, keep looking for something with a rockered tail and twin-tip. And of course, if it’s retarded deep out there, you’ll want something fatter. ZAG’s answer to those worries are the SLAP and the H112 AD Ride.

Why are we so stoked? Nice to see a new face on the block. ZAG is just breaking into the North American freeride market, and reviews have been pretty damn positive so far. If anyone saw the older models from a few years back, fear not… new owners, new direction, new skis.

Will they last? The company owners seem pretty pumped to make a presence in the North American market with the help of Sable & Poudreuse, and are really focusing on green materials and practices to ensure we still have snow to ski on in the future. As for their skis, they survived a few good days in rocky South America, but we’ll have to let someone else comment on what happens after that.  So far so good.

ZAG has this to say about the Heli Golds:

With a slightly stiffer flex to further improve its performance on really hard snow, the ZAG HELI GOLD is THE reference for big powder days. Its snowboard-like design gives it unequalled flotation combined with ease of skiing. What’s more, this ski simply embarrasses other fat skis with its astonishing on-piste ability. An off-piste ski than can really carve up the piste!


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